January is inherently a time to set new goals and look at the world with fresh eyes. Take a deep breath, because this is a year to allow lessons we’ve learned to drive deep change in our lives. Ok, let’s face it, 2020 was many things including the year you can say you survived the great toilet paper shortage. Last year is in the past but it may also have been a year that provided some of the biggest lessons. I say it’s time to take back the things that have shone brightly in our lives and embrace our more compassionate selves. One that considers deeper connections in 2021.
I recently had lunch with someone I considered a friend, someone I respected, loved to share stories with, swap knowledge with, and generally provide good old fashioned support for each other. Or so I thought. This lunch started with me waiting on a very late arrival, then a blame shift for her keying the wrong address into her GPS, and then catapulted into a one-sided conversation about money and status. Who made what, what semi-famous person they had a semi-connection to, and continued into what so-and-so was doing and what she got out of it. She didn’t ask about my life, business, personal growth, or god forbid topics like happiness. It was like a hallow lecture to the wrong audience.
With many people’s lives turned upside on an unfathomable scale throughout 2020, I wondered if this is what she took stock in from her own soul searching. It seemed so removed from important topics on a global scale and I glanced across the table questioning what the point of the conversation was. She seems more distracted than focused or maybe it was me feeling a spark of reproach that left me disheartened. The boasting and superficiality made me feel like I couldn’t confide in her and my intuition urged me to pull away. I couldn’t get attached to what she was saying, and I ultimately tuned it out.
I left lunch that day wondering if this was a case of “those that are the loudest and most judgemental are often camouflaging the most insecurities” type of thing, or if I was just feeling vulnerable. It felt we should be brought together now more than ever with compassion and a sense of connection, but this felt like the opposite.
The lunch topic of money stood out because 2020 affected so many people’s livelihoods and yet it seems like I’ve run into more acquaintances who are money shaming those around them while grasping onto self-proclaimed prestige. Valuing themselves and others on cash over character.
Don’t get me wrong, I love money, but I don’t place my personal value on money. I grew up in a hardworking family and learned the skills of resilience and consistency to create success. But I am not my money, and neither are you. The damage of valuing people this way has longer-lasting effects than we think and is heavily ingrained in separating our society.
Ever heard the saying, a person of character can attract wealth but a wealthy person can’t buy good character? The potency of money is real. It can get things done, offer freedom, creativity, personal and professional security, and relief from stress and shame. The psychology of money goes deep and like many of our subconscious emotions, money psychology can be positively harnessed and used for social change.
The moral of the money story, if there is one, is that we have the freedom to choose what we value the most, and we need real connections and real character in our lives. Whatever tool we choose to seek that is ours. It’s worth spending some time to tap into our submerged mind with rational thinking and those important emotions tied to our character, money valuing, or others. Without our own awareness, we tend to avoid dealing with things that aren’t “perfect” and may not see how we are valuing others and ourselves, misplacing a shaming story on someone.
We’ve watched human struggles escalate during a pandemic and have reached a precipice that requires change. Amid overwhelming emotions, we can still ask for more.
We are not our past and personally, I refuse to carry anyone else’s story of me. So, if 2020 hit you, hit back. Take back that shining light as a tonic for your soul, the irresistible human spirit still shines. In 2021 I’m taking back my ability not to carry other people’s “stuff”, to learn new skills, embrace my compassion, reassert myself, live more intentionally, be around the right people, and seek movement for my body and mind.
Be careful not to step too close to those with self-proclaimed prestige, with a faint smile and superior stance that may hide coping mechanisms. In the meantime, I’ll choose my lunch dates a bit more carefully and tap into the power of harnessing my own fearless goals.
Keeping ourselves healthy and working on our character, values, skills, and our own stories can sometimes feel like the most indulgent thing of all. But they are also some of the most meaningful. What are we waiting for? No time like 2021.
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Liz Galloway has danced with locals in Beirut, been lost in a maze of Marrakech souks, worked with Indigenous people in Costa Rica, hiked the highest mountain in Indochina, flown a helicopter, jumped from planes, bridges and cliffs, swam with whale sharks, manta rays, turtles, seals, hammerheads, and some humans. She has contributed travel features to Luxury Report, along with Matador, Yoga Digest, Vamoose Outdoors, Bad Yogi, HER Magazine, Spa Opportunities, Pulse, East Asia Backpackers and many other digital and print outlets. You can listen to her on the E-Health and Women Entrepreneur's podcasts or find her health juice book on Amazon Kindle. She also connects people with transformative travel to break personal boundaries with an online coaching space and in personal adventure retreats with the Wild Adventure Wellness brand. When she is not eating french fries or sipping wine, you can find her working with travel brands or scouting new locations. Connect with Liz online.